U.S. stocks finished higher Tuesday, recovering from an early hit from a plunge in November U.S. existing home sales. Energy stocks led the thin pre-holiday gains as oil prices peeled off 11-year lows hit on Monday amid worries of a supply glut while steel and mining companies benefited from pledges overnight from the Chinese government that it would cut industrial overcapacity.
Existing home sales plunged almost 10.5% in November to 4.76 million, following a 4.1% drop in October, well below estimates for 5.32 million. The single family sales index accounted for most of the weakness, falling 12%, while condominium sales rose 1.7% last month. The National Association of Realtors blamed the weakness to new regulations that went into effect in October.
While sales declined, prices for homes increased. The median sales price rose to $220,300 from $219,100, and prices are up 6.3% year-over-year.
Earlier, investors shrugged off news the October Federal Housing Finance Agency home price index rose 0.5% in October. Of the nine regions surveyed, seven posted gains. The FHFA index is up 6.1% year-over year.
In a separate report, final Q3 gross domestic product declined to 2% from 2.1%, on par with analyst expectations.
Volumes were low, though, with many investors getting ready for the Christmas holiday on Friday. Markets are closed on Friday and re-open Monday.
Crude oil for February delivery settled 33 cents higher at $36.14 per barrel, while natural gas futures were 4 cents lower at $1.95 per 1 million BTU. February gold declined 0.8% to finish at $1,074.10 per ounce while March copper dipped 3.1 cents to $2.109 per pound.
Here's were the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 165.65 (+0.96%) to 17,417.27
S&P 500 17.83 (+0.88%) to 2,038.97
Nasdaq Composite Index 32.19 (+0.65%) to 5,001.11
Hang Seng Index up 0.18%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.26%
Nikkei down 0.15%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.8%
DAX down 0.08%
CAC 40 up 0.0.6%
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